Imagine the woman in your mind. There she is, caught in a compromising position and thrust into the light of day by a group of self-righteous religious leaders. She stands there, for all to see, her sin publicly exposed. She is dripping with guilt and shame, and the worst part of it all was the whole scene was orchestrated not truly because of her sin, but because of these religious leaders’ hatred of Jesus. For with this woman, they saw an object to be used to try and trap Jesus and bolster their ongoing case against Him.
But Jesus is not put off. He is not put off guard. Instead, he calmly starts to bend at the knees:
Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger (John 8:6).
What did He write? Was it a message? Was it a picture? Was it directed to the woman? Was it focused on the scribes and Pharisees? Was it just a doodle to pass the time? We don’t know, but having written whatever He wrote in the dirt, Jesus stood to His feet and offered a challenge back at the accusers:
“The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
One by one, those intent on throwing rocks at the woman dropped them and walked away. One by one they acknowledged that they, too, were sinners and therefore could not throw rocks from their position in their glass houses. And then there was only One left. And this One is the only One who could rightfully pick up a rock.
Jesus is, according to His own words, the One holding all the rocks.
So what will He do with them? What will the One who can rightly judge do with His power? Gloriously, He will die. So Paul reminds us in the gospel-laiden chapter of Romans 8: “Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:34).
The One holding the rocks has stretched out His arms to die in our place. And now the One holding all the rocks has folded His hands to pray on our behalf.
Only He was left, with the woman in the center. When Jesus stood up, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, Lord” she answered.
“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore” (John 8:9-11).
This is our story, Christian. Yours and mine. We are not only the accused, but also the guilty, and there is One who rightfully can execute the sentence upon us. But Jesus, the only one who can truly throw rocks, gave His life for the ones destined to receive them, and now spends His time praying for them at the right hand of God.